9 tracks, 58 minutes. The fifth album from the masters of understated beauty. More upbeat than Unsolved but maintaining the jazzier direction of previous releases.
Songs about familiar record shops in Boston and strange streets in Italy. Songs about alienation from friends and intimacy with the stranger on the sidewalk. Songs about transitions from small town to city, from city back to small town, from functional alcoholism to alcohol functionalism. Songs about bad attitudes that should have been left in the 80s and those from the past that we wish we could conjure now.
Some Boots represents the simple ideas that the band, their friends and their listeners deal with every day: simple ideas like siphoning every last bit of inspiration from records purchased a decade ago, balancing new responsibilities against youthful convictions and struggling to share ideas and opinions about the world in a country that is increasingly intolerant of dialogue.
Concurrently, "First Release" takes a snapshot of the Boston music scene a decade ago, using a lost-but-not-forgotten recording of a favorite band to represent an unyielding desire for youthful zeal. "Remain Relaxed" contrasts the paths taken by two old friends who have been apart for years. "Ice or Ground"? is a dialogue between two long-time political activists who challenge each others' ideals by responding to Newt Gingrich's recent sentiment that Afghan citizens will be thankful to the United States Government because the (then-) ensuing war will surely result in indoor plumbing for most of Middle Asia.
Musically, Some Boots is yet another document of Karate's ever-developing sonic schizophrenia, unabashedly slamming genres together as if they were making a mix-tape for a road trip. The almost pulse-free "South" explores the improvisational style Karate worked into their recent Cancel/Sing EP. "Airport" and "First Release" sport the solid half-time feel of Unsolved's "The Roots and the Ruins~ and "Sever". "Corduroy" is a slow climax reminiscent of "Gasoline" and other songs from Karate's earlier recordings. But don't be confused by this aural palimpsest, because Some Boots is simply a document of three music geeks who like to play whatever the hell they want in any context, and that's just what they do on Some Boots.
1. Original Spies
2. First Release
3. Ice or Ground?
5. In Hundreds
7. Baby Teeth
9. Remain Relaxed
- Released September 2002
- Available on CD and LP
"The recurring link throughout ‘Some Boots’ is basically jazz freestyle noodling that breaks into beautifully memorable hooks disguised as choruses and words which are, as ‘In Hundreds’so succinctly notes, “part nonsense, part lung test”. - Drowned In Sound